Hitherto, kidney transplant was considered risky in obese patients, often leaving them with dialysis as the only option.

But according to the findings of anew study, kidney transplants are equally effective in prolonging survival in obese as they in leaner counterparts.

However, this survival benefit is lower in severely obese patients, researchers marked.

The study
For the purpose of the study, researchers at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, looked at more than 208,000 late-stage kidney failure patients who received either a kidney transplant or their first dialysis session between 1995 and 2007.

The participants were categorized basis their Body Mass Index (BMI). Patients with a BMI of 30 or higher were considered obese, while those with a BMI of 40 or higher were classed as severely obese.

Nearly 60 percent of the patients with a BMI lower than 30 had received a transplant as against half of the 62,869 obese patients.

Researchers found that obese patients gained a similar survival advantage from kidney transplantation as non-obese counterparts – their risk of dying during the first year post transplant was 66 percent lower.

However, severely obese patients gained a lower survival advantage after a kidney transplant. They were 48 percent less likely to die within one year of transplant.

Overall, the risk of dying early after receiving a kidney transplant was greater in obese compared with thinner peers.

But the difference in survival was not as profound when transplants were conducted using kidneys from live donors.

“Our study shows that obese patients derive a survival advantage from transplantation, and obesity should not exclude patients from consideration of transplantation,” study’s lead author, Dr. John Gill, of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, said in a journal news release.

“Also, improved early post-transplant care may help reduce the early risk of death in obese patients, and living donor transplantation may be a useful strategy to mitigate the risks of transplantation in obese transplant candidates,” he added.

The findings of the study are reported in the current issue of the American Journal of Transplantation.

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